The Propulsion Module (PM) of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, which was initially intended for lunar operations, was successfully returned to Earth's orbit by ISRO after exceeding its lunar mission objectives, demonstrating India's ability to not only launch objects to the Moon but also bring them back.
On Tuesday, S. Somnath, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), announced India’s forthcoming mission to Venus, the sunniest planet in our solar system. Following the successful launch of the Chandrayaan-3 moon mission in August, preparations for the Venus mission have progressed, marking a significant advancement in India’s space exploration endeavors.
Speaking at the Indian National Science Academy in Delhi, Somnath mentioned that several missions are in the conceptual stage, and planning for the Venus mission is already underway, with payloads already prepared.
He described Venus as an intriguing planet, highlighting that research on this planet could yield insights into various unresolved questions in space science.
“Venus is an incredibly fascinating planet. It also has a vibe about it. It has a very dense atmosphere. Acids abound in the atmosphere, which has a pressure 100 times greater than that of Earth. You are unable to go beneath the surface. You are unsure of how hard the surface is. Why are we attempting to comprehend everything here? One day, Earth might resemble Venus. I’m not sure. Perhaps 10,000 years from now, Earth will have changed. This has never existed on Earth. Long ago, it was uninhabitable,” Somnath stated.
While the European Space Agency’s Venus Express project concluded in 2016, Japan’s Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter has been orbiting Venus since 2016, conducting missions to study the planet.
NASA has also been actively involved in Venus missions, conducting flyby missions and other projects. In 2022, NASA announced that one of its spacecraft had captured the first visible light images of Venus during a flyby mission in 2021.
Following the success of Chandrayaan-3, ISRO launched the Aditya L1 spacecraft on September 2, 2023, marking India’s first space-based mission to study the Sun. Aditya L1 is positioned in a halo orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L1), approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, serving as India’s inaugural space observatory for solar research.